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FANS' ZONE 03/12/2020




THE BUZZ IS BACK AS FANS ALLOWED INTO PLAINMOOR ATER 9 MONTHS


Out of lockdown 2 and into Tier 2 with the long awaited return of fans to Plainmoor on Saturday for the visit of Wrexham aka FC Hollywood, as the club announced the release of socially distanced passes for season ticket holders accompanied with a supporters’ code of conduct.

Whilst there will be many eagerly looking forward to the buzz of live football there will be others who will prefer to carry on live streaming until probably they’ve had the vaccine. This must have been a logistical nightmare for club officials and many hours must have been spent in getting all the Covid protocols in place.

There must, too, be a strong financial element as there are significant costs staging football matches and the majority of fans allowed into Plainmoor will be season ticket holders who have already paid so there won’t be much, if any, extra revenue from non-season ticket holders admitted to cover the bills and with no hospitality allowed there’s no bar takings.

Meanwhile Dover, Hartlepool and Notts County are amongst nine National League clubs whose grounds fall into Tier 3 areas with no fans allowed. It will be interesting to see if the teams with (limited) home support have any advantage and bearing on results.

But with United coming from behind at Wealdstone on Tuesday with a brace from Billy Waters, manager Gary Johnson, who has said that when fans are allowed back, he wanted his Gulls to be top of the table, has got his wish.

Every week the boss shows his experience with his astute man management and on Tuesday he demonstrated this with his inspired half-time team changes.

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Last week TUST held its first ever virtual AGM at which there was a healthy turn-out with exiles from Bedford, Essex and Reading amongst others.

Despite the last attended home game being on February 29, with 2,126 inside Plainmoor, TUST has been busy during the pandemic carrying out surveys of all National League clubs in respect of season ticket refund policies and streaming services.

TUST has had continued liaison with local MPs and councillors, national football organisations and has joined with the trusts of Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle to form the Devon Supporters Trust Group which is expecting, in the New Year, to expand into a South West group. The FSA (Football Supporters Association) inform us that we are the only successful area in the country to set up such a group.

TUST has supported, with funds, the Torbay Food Alliance in April and two donations to the Torquay United Women’s Football Club which is run independently from the main club, the first of which enabled them to stay afloat when lockdown 1 hit.

There has been a welcome increase in TUST membership over the last few months.

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A year ago TUST, in partnership with Laura Twitchin and her family, set up the Ian Twitchin Trophy to honour the memory of her father, a Torquay United legend who had passed away. Twitchin, a loyal one club professional, pulled on a Torquay United shirt 435 times in a career spanning eleven years between 1969 and 1980. The new trophy is awarded annually to the player making the most appearances in a season. Last year it went to Liam Davis while this year’s recipient, presented with the trophy on the pitch at Plainmoor last week was Kyle Cameron.

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National League news: Last week it was announced that Yeovil Town was in talks to sell its Huish Park stadium and surrounding land to South Somerset District Council. A loss of crowds at the club’s matches since March, the loss of sponsorship revenue following the withdrawal of the main shirt sponsors and the cost of bringing players out of furlough to compete in last season’s play-offs have all contributed to the financial difficulties at the club.

This shows the fine margins between solvency and impending disaster and underlines the lifeline extended to the Gulls from owner Clarke Osborne as highlighted in last week’s column.

Talk last week of the ‘Torquay Way’ to a new stadium has renewed speculation as to where this might be and, as this column mentioned in early July, a possible site is Edginswell especially as a railway station is part of the new development for housing, school, commercial, recreational, leisure and tourism facilities plans for this area to be built by 2024.

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A major brewing story of concern for all footballers and football fans is the link between heading and dementia. It has been established that heading the ball damages the brain, though it is not exactly clear how and over what period.

There are those who say heading should be banned as the sport is called ‘foot’ball to those who say that brain injuries suffered by former footballers should take into consideration the difference between balls then and now. The old leather one when wet was like heading a cannonball.

Clearly more evidence is required but the issue must be a serious concern for footballers young and old.

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Last week’s Three Word Fun brought the heartfelt ‘ Meeting Everyone Again’ ,’ Fans back, Yippee’ and Pete (Norfolk Gulls) ‘Please Keep Streaming’.

This week, if allowed, are you going to Plainmoor on Saturday? Yes or No to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com.

As always to the Yellow Army stay safe.



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